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Cookout for baseball rookies included in church mission trip

KERSHAW, S.C. (BP)–Members of First Baptist Church, Kershaw, S.C., scored big by hosting a cookout for the Bluefield Orioles, the rookie league team for the Baltimore Orioles based in Bluefield, W.Va.
“This is the second year we have done the meal for the team,” explained Bryant Fersner, the church’s pastor, of the outreach which was part of a mission trip.
“The idea came to us because we were looking for various ministry opportunities in the Bluefield area,” Fersner said. “We saw this as an ideal outreach opening and a way to do evangelism in a comfortable setting.”
Because of the team’s rookie status, the players are recent high school and college graduates, many of whom are away from home for the first time.
Church member Ray Sartain assisted with the meal, considering it a highlight of the trip. “The players bring a healthy appetite, but there’s also a spiritual hunger. The meal gives us time to get to know the players and share Christ with them,” Sartain said.
To help break the ice, church members ask the players to autograph baseballs.
“We also attended their game the night before and the day of the cookout to show our support and let them know we were the group serving them a meal,” Sartain said.
The Orioles’ president and general manager, George McGonagle, expressed his appreciation. “Our booster club does meals during the summer for the team, but we do not normally have a full meal served to us by another group. The staff are appreciative of the dinner and enjoy the fellowship,” McGonagle said.
Along with the meal, First Baptist provided the players with copies of “A Man of His Word,” a New Testament distributed through Promise Keepers which features testimonies from professional athletes.
Fifty-seven members from First Baptist traveled to West Virginia in late July to spend a week working with Ceres Baptist Church in the Mountain State Baptist Association as part of the South Carolina/West Virginia partnership. First Baptist held backyard Bible clubs at three sites during the mornings and taught Vacation Bible School in the evenings. A construction team conducted extensive renovation on the exterior and interior of the local association building.

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  • Cathy Stover